6 February 2017

Goggle-Eyed Gucci and Proenza Schouler Pornstars

Kalen Hollomon is the collage artist making The Goonies LV dons and giving Indian market workers a sassy pair of velvet Chanel boots. His mixed media works have an emphasis on the ever-changing relationship between subject and object, allowing everyday moments to be punctuated with realism and romance. His unorthodox combinations explore commerce, fashion, gender identity and taboo by melding some of the most identifiable logos and imagery in luxury fashion, with images from an altogether different context... from 70s porn mags and iconic sportstars, to cult filmography stills and random tube-goers. With an Instagram feed that scrolls like a surreal dream, he's attracted a hefty following and landed opportunities like designing The Weeknd's "Beauty Behind the Madness" album art. I had a chat with Kalen about his exhibition at Colette and how in his line of work, timidity is a "piece of shit".

I wouldn’t assume that as a child, you envisioned yourself collaging killer stilettos onto michael jordan but I may be wrong. when you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was young I was collaging baseball cards with Garbage Pail Kids cards, so not that far off from what I'm doing now. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be a professional sports player of any kind but mostly skateboarding and football. An artistic football player.

there’s something really refreshing about the merging of reality and abnormality in your work. are your concepts spur-of-the-moment or do you approach a certain situation with a finished result in mind?
I try to approach my work with a point of view and allow the freedom of the process to determine the visual outcome. Otherwise, it turns out to be timid, aka a piece of shit.

how difficult is collage in terms of the physicality of finding images that match up exactly size-wise? do you see this as a barrier of sorts or does it challenge you to be more creative with what you have to hand?
To me, that challenge is what makes collage interesting. Without it, there’s a romance lost.

it may be a little like picking your favourite child but what’s your favourite of your collages so far?
Michael Jordan and Muggsy Bogues. Bogues’ hand rests on Jordan’s exposed butt, Jordan is in heels, thigh highs and women's underwear. A mix of masculine, feminine, icons, sexuality, humour. The process of making it was natural – no fidgeting, just an instance where things really worked out.

how do you think you’d react if someone were to pull you up on your work if they were in your image. for example, the cop with the céline shoes makes for a truly brilliant image but what would you do if he asked you what on earth you were doing?
I'm usually honest if someone asks, but no one ever really gets it.

have you ever been contacted by any of your unsuspecting subjects who’ve spotted themselves in your images later on?
A couple times. It's always been a positive reaction. Once in a while, I'll get a request like, "do me.”

where’s your favourite place to people-watch?
The bedroom.

the importance but equally, the insignificance of context is highlighted through the blending of high fashion imagery and relatively mundane scenery. can you talk us through the juxtaposition of your work and any motives behind this?
I'm interested in seeing peculiarities hidden in plain sight, context being all or nothing, and perspective as totally relative.

after utilising instagram as your platform for so long, you had your exhibition at colette last year – how did you find translating the imagery for an exhibition setting? do you plan to exhibit work again soon?
I've always made work to be viewed in person, the experience is always stronger. Colette was a great place to exhibit - Sarah has such a great idea of what she likes and what she wants. Things take on a new life on a larger scale so it was nice for people to experience a few of my pieces like that. I recently participated in a three-person show at BBQLA and currently have a piece in another group show, also in Los Angeles. I'm looking forward to exhibiting more work in the future.

if you ignore the technicalities of reality and could magic up a collage of absolutely anything, what would you create?
A camel with an old sports sock on one foot.

can you tell us about any projects that you’re working on at the moment?
Lots of personal work.